Project Management: Tools and Techniques for Today's LIS Professionals

Philip Calvert (Victoria University of Wellington)

Online Information Review

ISSN: 1468-4527

Article publication date: 1 October 2004




Calvert, P. (2004), "Project Management: Tools and Techniques for Today's LIS Professionals", Online Information Review, Vol. 28 No. 5, pp. 381-382.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2004, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

It is now fairly well understood that the information profession faces a shortage of young managers willing and able to assume leadership roles in the near future. When pressed on this matter, some current senior managers accept that there is a problem but offer rather too few solutions that can be expedited cheaply and without expecting other organisations to do most of the work. Yet, within any organisation there is a relatively simple, practical, but nevertheless effective, means of giving promising young managers their first taste of real responsibility. It is project management.

I have taught project management to graduate LIS students and can report that they enjoy the subject and recognise its immediate practicality. The downside is that to date the only texts on this subject have come from the general management literature. I have not seen a specialised project management text for LIS before. That, in itself, would mean that we should be pleased to see this new book from Facet Publishing. This is an excellent book from Barbara Allan, and it is no exaggeration to say that this is one of the best of a dozen or so books I have reviewed this year, so you will appreciate why I am doubly pleased.

The book is divided into three main parts. The first part is a one‐chapter introduction that defines project management. The second part is on the project life cycle and includes chapters on project analysis, planning, implementation, evaluation, dealing with the financial management of projects, and using ICT to support projects. This is the “meat” of the book. The third part is about the people in project management and it is all about working with others on projects, or even on your own.

Each chapter has the same structure, starting with an introduction that sets out its purpose. Headings are used extensively. Within each section there may be “examples” taken from best practice, nearly all from English university libraries. Just a few of them will be given here to provide some of the flavour: moving a library, an e‐learning project, and managing a project across two cities. There are many tables, figures and case studies, and all help to make the key points stand out clearly. Finally, the chapters end with a summary and a set of bibliographical references.

Although this book is not directly on library automation, there are many examples relevant to the readers of this journal, either implementing ICT systems in libraries, or using ICT in project management. The topic of risk management for a project (often overlooked in other texts) uses implementing an ICT system as the example to be studied. All in all, I highly recommend this book to everyone involved with library management.

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